Directors: David Collier, Suzanne LaFetra
Running Time: 74 minutes
F R E E, an up-close feature documentary, follows five of the teens in the Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company in Oakland, California, as they co-create a piece that asks them to dig deeply into the motivating dilemmas and hopes of their lives -to tell the truth, even if it hurts, because the truth will in some degree set them free. They finds personal liberation and mutual support while working toward a collaborative performance at Destiny Arts Center, an organization devoted to youth empowerment through dance, theater, and martial arts. Not that the very real challenges before these young people will simply disappear. Candid discussions of poverty, alienation, HIV status, sexual abuse, and gang violence arise as dauntingly complex, if not insurmountable, obstacles to happiness. But under the gentle guidance and support of their Destiny’s director, Sarah Crowell, the young dancers find release and acceptance in performing their stories, turning the courage, determination, and stamina demanded of their lives into a contagious joy.
2014 Mill Valley Film Festival – Audience Favorite